Luncheon Pilot Club to sponsor a Bicentennial Covington County Sacred Harp Convention

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Celebrating the state’s bicentennial in Covington County wouldn’t be complete without something musical.

The Luncheon Pilot Club is sponsoring a Bicentennial Covington County Sacred Harp Convention this weekend.

Nancy Robbins of the Luncheon Pilot Club said that the event will take those in attendance back to a time when sacred harp singing were held in the courthouse.

Gary Padgett, who is also helping organize the event, said years ago, a sacred harp singing would be held on the third Wednesday in July in the Courthouse.

“My grandmother went,” he said. “In fact, Judge (Ashley) McKathan said he still remembered it when he started practicing law.”

Robbins said she lived near the Court Square as a child and remembers hearing the singing all over the Square.

Robbins said the Luncheon Pilots will try to open the courtroom windows briefly around 9:30 a.m., Saturday, and people are invited to come on the O’Neal agency side and listen.

“Everyone is welcome to go in the courthouse or the courtroom,” she said. “We hope to get a lot of sacred harp singers.”

For those who aren’t familiar with sacred harp singing, also known as shape note singing, Padgett explained that the style of singing dates back to the Colonial period just prior to the American Revolution.

Shape notes are circle, triangle, square or diamonds, and there is a four-part harmony.

Four part harmonies are treble, alto, tenor, which is the melody and bass.

Singers also sit in a hollow square, while singing one of the parts.

Everyone is invited to Saturday’s event and can participate if they so choose.

Padgett said that books will be available for sale or to borrow.

Padgett said he hopes that locals will come away from the singing and find interest in sacred harp singing.

The event will kick off at 9:30 a.m. It will break at noon for lunch and locals are asked to return at 1:30 for the second part.

Padgett said requests from the audience are OK.

“Our club is very excited about this event,” Robbins said. “Most of our members will be able to attend. It’s such a wonderful thing.”

The event is free to the public and refreshments will be served.